Securing a Job with the Police in Austerity Britain
It has recently been reported that in the West Midlands, 2,700 jobs will be cut in the Police, including over 1,000 officer positions, in the next two years. The police and crime commissioner (PCC) said that this makes recruitment into the force ‘difficult’. It seems logical really, if 2,700 people are going to lose their jobs, it can hardly be justified to hire lots of people with less experience. But it is a regional game. The budgets for the police are decided and distributed regionally so some areas will have more funding for police officers than others.
But the current economic situation doesn’t mean that you can’t realise your dream of becoming a police officer. In most cases, the powers that be will try to keep as many beats on the street as possible, so it is likely to be management and administration which suffer heavily from the cuts: officer positions will still need to be filled. People resign and retire all the time so at some point a position has to be made available. But remember, this opening could be extremely competitive. Below are a few things that may look good on an application for a job as a police officer:
You will not just be called to an interview, you will also have to attend an assessment centre where you will have to pass some written tests before you become a police officer. There are practice papers available from this website so you can see exactly what you will be faced with.
Make sure you don’t sound over-rehearsed in your interview. It is extremely important that your passion for the job shines through so that the interviewers can see your enthusiasm as well as your potential. Remember that you don’t have to know everything just yet, you will be given all of the training that you will need.
The website for the Metropolitan Police’s Careers section states that in the first few weeks of training they learn skills such as decision-making, self-motivation, communication, professional standards and integrity. Although you won’t be expected to have all of these skills to a high standard, it may be a good idea to demonstrate that you have some experience in all of them. You also need to demonstrate that you are resilient, fit, confident, honest, trustworthy, reliable, good under pressure, firm but tactful, disciplined, able to take orders and that you have a good knowledge of the criminal law.
Think about the future
Once you go into the police, you will have a chance to specialise in a number of different areas such as counter-terrorism, dog-handling, mounted policing, fraud, trafficking, air support or underwater search. If you have an idea of a specialism that you would like to go into, make sure you have researched the area well and you can defend your reasons for choosing it in your interview.
There is no sure-fire way to a successful application to the police force but there are many online resources, some of them free, some of them at a price, which will help you on your way to become a police officer. If you are applying now you cannot afford to be unprepared, there will be dozens of other applicants going for the same position. Remember that now is not the best time to apply for the police at all, so if you make an application you have to be 100% confident in your ambition and ability.